Simply because of its location, it should come as no surprise that there are several ways to whale watch on Kodiak Island in Alaska. (Kodiak is a town on Kodiak Island, so the name “Kodiak” could refer to the specific town or the whole island.) In fact, there are many places you can simply stand on the shore and observe whales in the distance. However, if you want to get the best possible view of a whale, you’ll have head out to sea, and fortunately there are a couple of different companies that offer whale watching cruises, or at least cruises that feature whale watching as a major component of the tour. There are also ways to combine whale watching with another ocean activity, like fishing and sea kayaking. Since the companies that operate out of Kodiak don’t necessarily advertise “whale watching cruises” per se, we’ve compiled the following guide to help you find a tour that will allow you to see whales at sea.
As is the case in so many other Alaska cities, there isn’t really a whale watching company in Kodiak. That is, there isn’t a company that exclusively focuses on sailing around to see whales, and no company advertises itself as such. (This is in contrast to many of the other places that are known for whale watching, like the states along the Pacific Coast, where a large number of coastal cities have multiple outfits that expressly concern themselves with whale watching, and largely whale watching alone.) Instead, there are companies that offer broader wildlife tours, perhaps because there is so much wildlife to see apart from whales. Whales, by virtue of their behemothian majesty, are a major component of these tours, but it would be unduly restricting to call the tours “whale watching cruises.”
The company that offers the closest thing to traditional whale watching cruises is probably Kodiak Adventures Unlimited. In addition to several fishing excursions, they offer a number of land and sea tours, one which is the Marine Sightseeing Tour. As the name implies, this tour focuses on seeing marine life, and of course this includes whales. Early in the whale watching season, in the spring, you might see gray whales migrating north, and slightly later you’ll probably see more humpback and fin whales. It’s also possible to see minke and sei whales. A three-hour tour costs $180 per person, and five-hour tour $240 per person. Their tour boats are small, fitting a maximum of six people, although they have access to larger boats that can fit more people (in the 10-15 range) if you are part of a larger party. Another company that offers something like a whale watching cruise is Adventures in Kodiak. This company operates one ship, the Trophy II, and it can be rented for full-day (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM) cruises for $300 per person. These cruises can either focus on fishing or sightseeing, although the two might merge a bit – it’s certainly possible to see a whale while fishing, for example. These appear to be the two main wildlife tour companies in Kodiak, but you could also see a whale while participating in some other sea-based activity. As mentioned, you can spot whales on a fishing trip, and you could also see whales taking a kayaking trip with, say, Alaska Wilderness Adventures, which explicitly mentions this prospect on their website.
So, we’ll conclude where we began by again noting that there are several ways to see whales around Kodiak Island. The wildlife tours offered by companies like Adventures in Kodiak and Kodiak Adventures Unlimited are essentially whale watching cruises with other focuses, and it is also possible to see whales while engaged in other activities at sea. If you want more general information about seeing whales via ship in Alaska, check out our article on whale watching cruises in Alaska.